LOVES PARK (WREX) — Tyler Statler was once a kid with big league dreams of being a professional baseball player. Now that he's living that dream, he's giving back to his hometown.
"It's a heart-warming feeling, knowing that there are kids that look up to you and are just enjoying being there," said Statler. I'm family oriented and I love being with my family and being able to give back and to other kids that are wanting to learn."
After his first season as a professional in 2019, the pandemic shut down minor league baseball in 2020, slowing down the development process for young players.
"It was very weird, because we got there, three days and then they're like alright, we're sending you home so we were like, alright do we continue staying ready in case we do come back?" said Statler. "For them to tell you that you're not having a season is just like, alright, just keep working out, training for next year."
After growing up in the Rockford area, Statler met guys from all over the world.
"It's a very diverse crowd when you're in Florida playing, a lot of Latin guys, guys from the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Mexico and it's cool we all come together in the same sport, and we can all get along in the same sport," said Statler. "My roommate is from Puerto Rico, he taught me some Spanish, I taught him some English and it was a fun experience just getting the chance to be able to learn something like that and to teach somebody about the culture."
Tyler had to adjust to life as a professional baseball player after being drafted out of high school.
"I've learned that it's a grind. You have to be physically and mentally prepared," said Statler. "You're constantly at the field busting your butt and just constantly working to get better. You realize what kind of person you are when you go through tough times out on the field, if you're not having a good outing."
Now with a couple of years of experience under his belt, Statler is ready to take 2022 by storm.
"I'm looking to improve locating my pitches, being more consistent, working with them, just studying the game a little more."
Giving back to his community, studying the game, and looking to make a big impact in the St. Louis Cardinals organization.